Same-sex couples in Portugal will soon be able to legally adopt children, after the newly elected Parliament endorsed legislation that has been introduced four times in the past three years.
All left-leaning political parties backed the legislation on its first reading Friday, as did roughly 20 deputies from the nation's center-right Social Democratic Party, according to Agence France Presse.
The new law, which would also allow improved access to assisted reproduction methods, was introduced by the Socialist party, notes Gay Star News. It was drafted as a pointed rebuttal to the nation's 2010 marriage equality law, which expressly prohibited same-sex couples from adopting.
"The fact that having homosexual parenting has no harmful effect on children has been scientifically established," read the proposal introduced for first reading by the Socialist party.
"All children -- including children in [foster] care -- have a right to have a welcoming family, providing love, stability, security, commitment, and the opportunity to bond and enjoy interactions essential for their development," said Andre Silva, deputy leader of center-left political party PAN, according to Gay Star News. "It is clear: in Portugal there is a clear discrimination against this type of parenting."
"The road to equal adoption rights for same-sex couples in Portugal has been a long one," said European LGBT group IGLA-Europe's executive director Evelyn Paradis in a statement. "Today is a wonderful day for families in Portugal, for the LGBTI activists, civil society groups and allies who have worked so hard to eliminate discrimination in adoption law."
In 2013, Portuguese lawmakers approved second-parent adoption for married same-sex couples who already had a child, but still did not allow childless LGBT families to adopt.
AFP notes that the laws given initial approval on Friday also include the repeal of several restrictive abortion laws, removing a criminal penalty for abortions performed after the 10th week of pregnancy, and removing the requirement that women seek counseling before the procedure.